"There is properly no history, only biography," Emerson remarked, and in this ingenious book Thomas McCraw unfolds the history of four powerful men: Charles Francis Adams, Louis D. Brandeis, James M. Landis, and Alfred E. Kahn. The absorbing stories he tells make this a book that will appeal across a wide spectrum of academic disciplines and to all readers interested in history, biography, and Americana.
A novel, stimulating approach… McCraw's effort to clarify the nature of regulation by carefully integrating biography, history of ideas and regulatory strategy pays handsome dividends… Each of these 'prophets' wrote extensively, even compulsively, about the theory and practice of regulation. McCraw skillfully melds their words and actions into a series of revealing intellectual portraits.
New York Times Book Review
McCraw explains sophisticated economic theory in accessible terms, and he has a historian's knack for isolating such basic American traits as a mistrust of big business and for showing how regulators manipulated these traits to implement their policies.
An exceptionally good book on the development of government regulatory traditions in twentieth-century America, which illuminates as well the broader course of modern reform… [McCraw's] book will become a seminal work in the study of American regulation and reform.